Olympian Becky Downie drops in to surprise gobsmacked Valleys Gymnastics teenager

Written by on 7th February 2022

Fourteen-year-old Ava Tunley from Valleys Gymnastics Academy this week discovered she had won the National Young Volunteer Award at the 2022 British Gymnastics National Awards.

And the moment was made even more special for gobsmacked Ava, when Olympian and multiple major championship medallist Becky Downie appeared to break the news!

With the National Awards celebrations being held online this year, Ava thought she was on a call with British Gymnastics to talk about being nominated but little did she know they had a brilliant little surprise in store.

The National Young Volunteer Award recognises a young person between the ages of 11 and 18 who has volunteered their time and enthusiasm to help others enjoy the sport.

Ava, who lives in Cwmbran, has been volunteering for two years already. A gymnast at VGA, Ava soon started volunteering on an informal basis before assisting on a weekly basis within the younger classes.

During the first Covid lockdown, she supported coaches delivering online Zoom sessions by demonstrating and delivering warm up activities and cool down games. In early 2021, the club created its first Wellbeing and Inclusion Ambassador role – which Ava took on.

She has excelled in the role, particularly by supporting inclusive activity and developing new ideas to support wellbeing across the club.

“I’ve heard you’re doing incredible work at your club and it’s honestly the best thing to be able to come on here and surprise you with this today,” said Becky to Ava.

“It’s incredible, honestly; we definitely need more people like you around, helping to keep children active and encouraging them to work hard – so massive congratulations.”


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